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PACWEST men's volleyball silver for Douglas College Royals on home court

The New Westminster school missed out on a trip to the national championship in a five-set thriller against Vancouver Island University.

The Douglas College Royals were within spiking distance of a trip to the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) national championships.

The New Westminster school's men's volleyball team fed off the home crowd's energy in the PACWEST gold medal game on Saturday, Feb. 25, to an early 2-0 lead, which included a convincing 25-13 win in the second set.

A third victory would've meant a short trip to Camosun College in the Greater Victoria area in less than two weeks time.

But Vancouver Island University (VIU) had their own plans and found another gear to silence the green and white and win three straight sets to claim the B.C. conference title, 3-2.

The set scores were 25-20, 25-13, 20-25, 20-25 and 12-15.

Douglas College was looking to raise its first men's volleyball banner in 10 years. They were the fourth seeded team going into the tournament, ranked 15th across the country.

However, they managed to pull off, arguably, the most stunning upset in the regional playoffs by downing the PACWEST top-seed and CCAA second-ranked College of the Rockies Avalanche.

On Friday, Feb. 23, the Royals swept the Avs 3-0 in the semifinals thanks to PACWEST player of the year Owen Lam, who led with 11 kills, and Lucas Sansone with six, plus two aces off the serve.

The Vancouver outside hitter and Argentine middle also were the impact players for Douglas College in Saturday's final. Lam recorded 19 kills, while Sansone added 10 and five aces.

Lam and Royals settler Elijah Kim were named all-stars from the two-day tournament.

In the regular season, Douglas College finished with an 11-9 record, including 45 set wins, and were on a six-game winning streak going into the conference playoffs.

Lam was named the PACWEST top outside hitter and earned a first-team all-star selection. Sansone was a second-team all-star, while Ugandan middle Marvin Tumusiime was placed on the all-rookie roster.

Women's volleyball

Meanwhile, Douglas College fell from second to fourth on the women's volleyball side.

The PACWEST championship-host Royals, ranked seventh in the CCAA rankings, finished 0-2 in their home gym.

The women fell in four sets, 3-1 to the Capilano Blues on Friday, as well as the Camosun College Chargers on Saturday.

First-year outside hitter Anna von Krosigk led Douglas with a combined 17 kills and nine aces from behind the line.

She and teammate Lauren Bowman were selected as 2023-24 PACWEST first-team all-stars, while head coach Jeff Ross was named coach of the year.

Von Krosigk and middle Alana Murr were also named to the all-rookie team.

The Royals finished with an 13-7 regular season record with 47 victorious sets.